Students concerned about rise in tuition
Students could see as much as a 9 percent increase in their tuition bill under a recommendation made Tuesday by the Colorado Commission on Higher Education.
Although many say that tuition increases are a necessity for CU, the commission’s decision raises concern about the continued affordability and accessibility of higher education in Colorado.
“Anytime tuition significantly increases, it’s a concern,” said UCSU representative-at-large Chance Heath, a junior international affairs major. “To increase diversity on campus we need to make it as affordable as possible to as many people as possible.”
CU’s Associate Vice Chancellor of Budget and Finance Steve McNally said the CCHE’s recommendation grants research institutions like CU the capability to raise their tuition by up to 9 percent, although it is up to the governing boards of the colleges to decide the actual percentage increase within the limit.
“There will be lots of dialogue within the CU-Boulder campus and the University of Colorado system before what we decide what is going to happen next,” McNally said.
The CCHE’s recommendation also caps tuition increases for students eligible for need-based financial aid at 5 percent, he said.
The issue of tuition increase has become a hotly discussed topic, as Colorado ranks 48th nationally for state funding earmarked for higher education.
Commissioner Jill Brake said she is concerned about the effect of rising tuition on students, but also sees the difficulty of running a university on limited state support.
“We are way behind the ball for the amount of funding that higher education gets in general, and we are trying to help colleges deal with expenses but we don’t know how to do it with no money,” Brake said of the CCHE’s recommendation. “I would hate to see college be only for the elite who can afford it though.”
The rising costs of unavoidable expenses such as employee housing, electricity and diesel fuel are major factors in the need for CU to increase its tuition, McNally said.
He also emphasized that the decision to increase tuition is not an easy one to make.
“We never want to increase tuition, but we also understand that in order to maintain quality and make sure that students are receiving a quality education, our expenditures must go up,” McNally said.
CU students said they realize that with state funding at a lull, a tuition increase may be necessary.
“I don’t necessarily mind an increase, as long as the money that the student pays comes back to them in the form of more services or more benefits on campus,” said Katie Allman, a sophomore management major. “I do think that raising tuition should be a last resort though.”
For future tuition bills to remain reasonable, both Brake and McNally emphasize the need for an increase in state funding.
“Knowing that schools need more funding in order to cover growing costs, we need to take a vote of the people,” Brake said. “We need to go to the voters for support so that we don’t have to price our schools out of reach for our kids.”
The CCHE’s proposal is now under review by the legislature’s Joint Budget Committee as a part of the annual state spending bill.
Contact Campus Press Staff Writer Emery Cowan at Emery.firstname.lastname@example.org.